SA lockdown: IFP mulls parliamentary bill to amend Disaster Management Act
Pretoria - The Inkatha Freedom Party is contemplating promoting a bill in Parliament to amend the Disaster Management Act to ensure the necessary checks and balances to strengthen representation and accountability.
Following this week's Pretoria High Court judgment declaring the current coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown regulations unconstitutional and invalid and government's intention to appeal the ruling, the IFP believes this is an opportune moment to strengthen the regulations and implement the relevant checks and balances required for greater inclusivity and democracy post-lockdown, IFP national spokesman Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement.
As much as the ruling was unfortunate, it was understandable in that it was the first time the Act had been tested "and now tried during this global pandemic". Any piece of legislation required this type of rigorous monitoring and evaluation process to provide South Africans with the best possible outcome and sound legislation, he said.
"The lesson is now to tighten the regulations through amendments and to close any loopholes which may exist or impede on the constitutional rights of South Africans during or post-lockdown.
"The IFP will therefore consider a private members' bill to amend the Disaster Management Act, or ensure that this matter is raised within the cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee to table a committee bill, which will include amendments to build in the necessary checks and balances to strengthen representation and accountability.
"We firmly believe that Parliament, as the representative body of all South Africans, should enjoy greater authority in determining regulations when in disaster. This responsibility cannot be left alone to a few ministers in cabinet or the formation of a council which is not democratically elected. Therefore, this is a lesson for the executive branch of government to limit its control and reach, and for Parliament’s bite to match its bark," Hlengwa said.
African News Agency (ANA)